Assemblyman David J. DiPietro has the worst attendance record in Albany, his opponent in the race for the 147th Assembly District charged.
The Republican assemblyman, who is running for his fourth two-year term, also has one of the worst voting records, missing more votes than 89 percent of other members of the Assembly, according to the campaign of Luke Wochensky.
"That’s crap, that’s a blatant lie," DiPietro said. "I think it's low, it’s a cheap shot."
Wochensky, a Democrat, said DiPietro has missed votes to improve infrastructure, health care and Main Street economies, as well as some bills he co-sponsored.
"This is one of the reasons I am running," Wochensky said. "The absenteeism has affected the district."
DiPietro said he had some medical issues during the past year, and was in the hospital at one point, but he missed just five or six days, he said.
"The one day I missed, I’m proud of it. When the governor gives the State of the State Address – I’m not going to drive five hours to listen to that guy," DiPietro said.
Some votes were in committees where there may be 10 or more votes in a single day, he said. He said he had the flu in January and probably missed 45 votes over the two days he was absent. He also missed at least four days one week and a few more days in other weeks for another illness, he said.
"One day last winter, part of the Thruway was closed and I was in East Aurora. I couldn't get out of East Aurora," DiPietro added.
Wochensky said DiPietro worked 32 full days and 10 half days, according to the per diem reimbursement rates he received.
DiPietro disagreed with those numbers. He said there were 60 to 63 days the Assembly was in session, and he missed just five or six days. He said he drives to Albany on Mondays for a session that starts at 1 p.m., and returns to East Aurora the following day after the session ends at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the "going away" day, counts as a half day, he said.
"I have a low per diem because I only go up there when we’re in session, because I don't sit there an extra day or come in early," he said.
DiPietro also noted that his mother was in the hospital and died in June 2016, during the waning days of the session when hundreds of bills are considered. He missed those days, he said. But Wochensky's report deals mainly with the following term, not that year.
The Wochensky campaign compiled the attendance numbers into a report based on Assembly travel records of how much legislators are paid per day in reimbursements, state expense reports and LegiScan.com, a website providing vote records.
"This is evidence of absenteeism based on facts and figures," Wochensky said. "I don't think there's any excuse for missing this much."